Markets – Providing Exceptional Service during the Coronavirus outbreak

Markets – Providing Exceptional Service during the Coronavirus outbreak

The coronavirus outbreak has meant that many markets have had to scale back their operations or close completely, but in these difficult times markets across the UK are finding new ways to keep the key food supply chain moving to their local communities. The feedback from customers has shown how vital a service this is in our villages, towns and cities.

At Bishop’s Stortford Market the traders have adapted really well and incorporated social distancing measures into their stalls. All of them have their own social distancing plans that comply with guidance given by the government. The market is  encouraging contactless payments, there are markers on the floor for safe queuing, additional signage, an order and collect service and online trading through Facebook.

Stockport Market has introduced 3 new initiatives to help keep the good folk of Stockport safe amid the coronavirus crisis. As of Tuesday 24th March, Stockport Market has been closed to members of the public but they  have introduced a telephone and online ordering service for essential food businesses, with either park & collect, drive by or home delivery options.

One of the markets longest standing traders, Tim Gardner of Gardner’s Fruit & Veg said:

‘I was really sceptical about doing the produce boxes because I didn’t think our shoppers would want them. I went along with it because I could see the management working really hard and wanted to support them. I can’t believe how many orders are coming through! I get the orders the day before so it takes some of the guesswork out of buying and reduces waste. I get the orders ready first thing in the morning and Market Place volunteers deliver them for me. I put my business card in each box and I get lots of messages from people who have never shopped at the market before and are over the moon with the quality and service they have received. I would definitely like to continue this service when we are back to normal, because a lot of my new shoppers can’t visit the market when we’re open…and the next time management ask us to try something, I’ll be the first in the line to do it’.

Warrington Market are still open and serving around 200 customers a day in the market itself from the 5 food traders still open plus they are facilitating around 100 home deliveries a day too. The market is also supplying a Community Centre in Warrington twice a week with fresh fruit and veg in conjunction with Cheshire Fire and Rescue that now feeds around 400 vulnerable adults.

Alfreton Indoor Market has reconfigured and continues to trade with a butcher doing deliveries only and a fruit, veg & egg stall doing over the counter and deliveries. The market has created social distancing markers to ensure the 2m rule is easy to follow for customers.

With over 12 food traders still working at Leeds Kirkgate Market the positive response from customers is evident on their social media pages. They have produced a simple and clear video message reinforcing the 2m social distancing rule and the extra measures the market has put in place to support it. All three of their district markets are still open selling fresh produce to their local communities in Otley, Yeadon and Pudsey.  With Leeds having such a diverse community, the exotic fruit, veg, herbs and spices are still available at the market to support the community too.

At Preston Market staying open and offering home delivery during these difficult times has been a lifeline to many local people. There is hope that following this situation these people will remain long term customers to Preston Markets and continue to support the market traders in the future.

A few examples of praise from the local community include:

“They are all doing a magnificent job and after all this virus stuff is passed into history we should all support these people! I for one cannot wait till the time I can have my breakfast treat at the Brew and bake cafe!”

“I can’t thank you all enough for making such a safe feeling shopping experience. I keep shouting from the roof tops how amazing you all are.”

At Swansea Market a whole range of initiatives has highlighted the importance of social media. The market has transitioned to a delivery only model, using the market hall as a hub and ensuring that essential food supplies are distributed.  They are working tirelessly to fulfil as many orders as possible.

Swansea Market stallholder, Lyn McKay of Pandora’s Box is using her musical talents to help keep us entertained at home and beat the isolation blues!

She has started a nightly live broadcast, SINGALONGALYN on her musical Facebook page Lyn’s Lounge. At 7:30pm each night, she’s putting on a great show.

More info: Facebook Page

Hugh Phillips have teamed up with another local business, Gower Gin, to add not-for-profit hand sanitiser to the list of essential items they’re now providing. For every bottle of the locally produced sanitiser sold, a bottle is donated to local NHS frontline staff.

Swansea Market stall The Choice is Yours has not only been busy providing food to people across Swansea, but they’ve also been continuing weekly donations of fruit and veg to support local food bank Matt’s Cafe during this difficult time.


[ngg src=”galleries” ids=”3″ display=”basic_thumbnail” thumbnail_crop=”0″ images_per_page=”100″ number_of_columns=”4″]Although Blackburn Market closed to the public, five key food traders are still supplying the local community. These include three butchers, a fishmonger and a fruit and veg stall. The market supported these traders by setting up a consolidated e-commerce platform in less than 24 hours and took over 500 orders in the first day it went live. They are now looking to expand the service beyond the current situation as the feedback from the public has been 100% positive.

Knutsford Market Hall have remained open for three key traders. Sandra Curties told us:

“The response from the community has been fantastic.  The traders are working extremely hard and coordinating deliveries where possible.  Telephone and online payments are possible for collection or delivery.  Joint deliveries are popular and the market is working closely with our voluntary organisation – WeAreKntusford.Org  We have also been overwhelmed with support from customers with some actually helping out and volunteer drivers to help with the increased workload.”

Creating a safe environment for shoppers and traders has been key for Tiverton Pannier Market. Only allowing two customers into the market hall at any time, enables very effective social distancing. Their two fruit and veg stalls prioritising delivery of around 200 fruit and veg boxes to the local community who are elderly or vulnerable every week and their butcher offering a collection service too.

Wisbech Market usually trades 7 days each week. Traders selling food and supplies, including fruit and vegetables, fresh meat, fresh fish, smoked meats, bread, cakes and other baked goods, are still attending on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. All traders are operating in accordance with the social distancing guidelines and some are also offering home deliveries to customers.

Shrewsbury Market Hall has stayed open for customers to buy food and nearly all of its food traders have either launched new home delivery services or massively expanded their existing ones.

Demand for these home deliveries has expanded week-on-week and, at times, has been overwhelming. Traders are working long hours to keep up with delivering hundreds of orders a week.

Their delivery services have provided a real lifeline, in particular, to many elderly and vulnerable people and those in isolation who were struggling to book supermarket delivery slots. Deliveries are also being made directly to the local hospital where ICU staff haven been arranging for deliveries to be made during their break times.

The positive feedback from customers has been overwhelming and the market management and traders have been inundated with thanks from local people for their hard work in keeping the market open and providing an essential public service.

At Tameside Markets, Ashton Market Hall within the greater Manchester borough of Tameside has remained open to shoppers for the supply of essential items between 9am-4pm, Monday to Saturday.

An order and collect service for key workers has been implemented. Orders can be placed over the phone or via email & their requested items are then collected by Market Management and they can then pick up their goods from a designated pick up point adjacent to the Market Hall, up until 6pm. A number of businesses within the Market Hall are working with the councils Community Safety & Homelessness team providing fruit & veg boxes, meat packs, and sandwiches to those in need.

Stevenage Indoor Market only has one entrance, so to make sure customers have access to all the information they need the market placed posters with QR codes for customers to scan their mobile phone device to see all information for trading hours & products available.

As a popular tourist destination, the street market in Skipton has two stalwart food traders (a fishmonger and a cheese stall) still operating to supply their local customers. David Craig who stands on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays on the market, between 7.30am and 12.30pm, took over Lawson’s cheese stall about 14 months ago and has been steadily building up his local trade. Speaking to the local Craven Herald newspaper, David said:

“For me it’s a case of honouring the local customers who have been buying their cheese from me, Around 20 per cent of my business has been from regular customers with the bulk from visitors, but even though the visitors can’t come, I still want locals to know I will be carrying on.”

St Neots Market are effectively monitoring social distancing with one trader with his own novel method for maintaining the 2m social distancing rule.

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